I recently sat down with Mim Bird of Over the Rainbow Yarn in Rockland, Maine. Mim is a dynamic, multi-talented woman and immediately upon meeting her I knew I needed to work with her. We talked about how she came to own a yarn shop in Mid-Coast Maine. She grew up in the area and after home schooling her son for several years, she found herself with time on her hands when he started attending a school in the area. She was deciding between going to school to become a lawyer or owning a yarn shop. You may think, as I did, that these two things are light-years apart with no connection, but as Mim explained, she loves working with people and empowering them. That is exactly what she does with her work at Over the Rainbow Yarn. Mim gives back to her community in a variety ways including inviting her customers to participate in knitting mittens for children in need, she recently directed a play, and she hosts the fastest knitter competition at the Lobster Festival.
I am very excited to be offering a knitting and yoga retreat with Mim Bird this summer Be the Boss of Your Knitting.
As a way of introducing Mim and getting a better idea of what the retreat will offer I asked Mim a few questions:
How long have you been knitting? What are your specialties?
I learned to knit when I was seven years old, and I learned to crochet wen I was nine. I love the rich color of yarn, but I don’t usually choose to do color work. I really love the intricacies of texture, like Aran sweaters, and lace work. But I would have to say my specialty is learning techniques. Even more than being a lifelong knitter, I am a knitting teacher. My philosophy as a teacher is to meet people where they are and keep trying different things until something clicks for them. I have learned so many tips and tricks over the years specifically so I could add to my teaching repertoire. The moment when someone “gets it” and the whole fiber world opens up for them is the magic moment for me as well as them.
What do you mean by “Be the Boss of your knitting”?
If you understand how stitches are formed and structured, you can read what’s on your needles and know what you ave done and what you need to do. If you understand how knitted pieces go together, you can make choices about how you want to proceed. These things are not difficult to learn and the empowerment that comes from being able to see what’s happening and know where you want to go and how to get there with you knitting allows you to be The Boss.
Have you worked with retreat groups before? What was your experience like?
I was the teacher/facilitator on a knitting cruise aboard the historic schooner J&E Riggin in June of 2013 which focused on embellishments. I also lead a retreat at Whitehead Island Light Station which focused on one-to-one issue or technique instruction. I really enjoyed my time in both venues. Teaching in short bursts and just being available in between gives me a feeling of relaxed energy. No pressure and lots of fun. It was delightful!
Did the retreat participants seem to enjoy themselves and learn a lot?
For a retreat, I try to keep instruction time short, dense and pithy so there is plenty of time to wander, dream, relax, and explore. I think the format of small bits of instruction with lots of open ended time to practice what you just learned or work on your own project (or just take a nap;after all it is a retreat!) appealed to the attendees. They had a great time and learned a lot…perhaps even more than they new…and everyone went away feeling more empowered, and really The Boss of their knitting.
Along with the confidence and knowledge you will gain from Mim, Tara Hire will guide you through yoga poses that will increase your focus and creativity. You will come away from this weekend retreat, light-years beyond with your knitting.